Sunday, 21 April 2019

Quilts with an Angle Blog Hop- Book Review and Giveaway

When my friend Sheila Christensen told me that she was writing a book, I was very excited and I was even more honoured when she asked if I would take part in the Blog Hop for Quilts with an Angle.

Sheila's patterns all utilise traditional piecing and a 60 degree grid. Traditionally pieced equilateral triangles, parallelograms, hexagons, diamonds, trapezoids and jewel shapes are the building blocks of her quilts.  I may seem like an unlikely fit for this blog hop as the quilts that I share tend to stick to foundation paper piecing, but I love the opportunity to branch out and try new things. Life gets boring when you stick with the same old things every day and I relish the chance to stretch myself and learn new skills.

Unfortunately, the timing of the blog hop has not been ideal for me. I am on strict instructions from my family to take it easy (after an operation last month). While they may not letting me use my sewing machine until next week I'm not going to let them stop me from sharing about this book.

I must admit that before reading this book, I hadn't considered how to efficiently cut shapes with 60 degree angles.  I'm pretty sure that I would have fuddled my way to some pretty average results. Luckily, Sheila has done a great job of simplifying every step of the process. She shows how to cut all the shapes using strips of fabric and either 60 degree triangle rulers or straight rulers. This means that you can accurately and efficiently cut multiple shapes in a relatively short period of time. 


In the Introduction of the book, Sheila discusses scant seam allowances, sewing 60 degree seams, trimming corners, chain piecing, pressing seams and many more of the basic skills that are important to have in your skill set when embarking on these patterns.

I love the way that Sheila has chosen to present her patterns. The body of the book is divided into eight lessons. The first six lessons each teach a basic shape- triangle, trapezoid, 60 degree diamond, 60 degree parallelogram, hexagon and 60 degree jewel. 

Each lesson starts by teaching the basics of the shape. Here there is a discussion of how the sizes are defined. The system that Sheila has developed is clear, logical and remains consistent between the different shapes. There are also clear pictures showing how to cut the shapes using a variety of different rulers and a reference table is given for those wanting to alter the size of building blocks used in the given patterns. Those of you who are petrified by the idea of doing lots of maths can relax. Sheila breaks the method down into easy manageable chunks.

Sheila then builds on this by teaching a quilt block using the shape. I am particularly in love with the Stack the Dishes block from the 60 degree diamond lesson. I am pretty sure that this is top of my list of patterns to try! Here is an example of the block.



To finish each lesson, Sheila presents two quilt patterns which use the block. By so doing, Sheila highlights the versatility of the 60 degree grid as blocks can be used in a straight setting or in a kaleidoscope setting.

Misty Morning is the first quilt pattern for the Stack The Dishes block. Here the blocks are placed in a straight setting and sashing has been used to separate the individual blocks. I love the elegance of the pattern.

Shadow Flower uses exactly the same basic block, but this time they have been set in a kaleidoscope setting with no sashing. Just look at the beauty of this quilt! I love it!
Lesson seven of the book covers 60 degree strip pieced quilts. Three different quilts are included in this chapter.

The designer in me finds the final lesson to be the most exciting one. In it, Sheila encourages people to branch out and start designing their own quilts using 60 degree triangle blocks. My brain is already ticking over some ideas to play with!

After reading this book, I feel confident that I could tackle a quilt which is designed using a 60 degree grid. The book is filled with beautiful patterns which offer a refreshing alternative to the usual to squares and half square triangles. Amazingly, I don't feel intimidated by the idea of doing lots of maths, because Sheila has done such a great job of stripping the technique back to basics.

If you are curious to hear more about Quilts with Angles, check out the other stops in the blog hop. Each stop offers the chance to win an ebook.


April 16th C&T www.ctpub.com/blog

April 17th Wendy Welsh  wendysquiltsandmore.blogspot.com

April 18th Sheila Christensen www.mysteryquilter.com

April 19th Angie Wilson www.gnomeangel.com

April 20th Juliet van der Heijden www.thetartankiwi.com

April 21st Kim Moos www.cottoncuts.com/blog

April 22nd Yvonne Fuchs www.quiltingjetgirl.com

April 23rd Aurifil www.auribuzz.wordpress.com

April 24th Jacquie Gering tallgrassprairiestudio.blogspot.com

April 25th Sheila Christensen www.mysteryquilter.com

*** Giveaway Closed***
Congratulations to Bec, the winner of the ebook.

To be in the running to win a copy of the Ebook, leave a comment here telling me what quilting technique you are most keen to learn.

Leave your email address if you are a no-reply blogger.
I will announce the winner on this blog post on 27th April and will make every effort to contact them.
The winner has 3 days to get in touch with me and claim their prize. A new winner will be chosen if the initial winner doesn't make contact.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Emu Foundation Paper Pieced Quilt Pattern Release

If you are looking for a fun quilt pattern, you're in luck, I have just the thing for you! My latest Emu pattern creates the perfect mini quilt.

It's a quilt block that will make you smile.
It's a bird quilt brimming with cheekiness and personality.

This Crazy Emu measures 18 inch x 18 inch, but percentages are included if you wish to resize the block.You can purchase the pdf pattern in my Etsy Store, my Payhip Store and My Craftsy Store. People in the EU MUST buy their pattern through Etsy or Payhip, NOT Craftsy.

I made my version of the pattern using brand new Karen Lewis Textiles Blueberry Park 3 Fabric from Robert Kaufman.

The really fun thing is that Karen loved the mini quilt so much that she offered to create a kit of the pattern. If you would like to sew a mini quilt with the exact same fabrics, then you can buy an Emu fabric kit here:

http://www.karenlewistextiles.com/product/emu-paper-piecing-kit


If you were not interested in making a mini quilt, this pattern would create a really fun cushion and I think it would also be great on the front of a tote bag.


If you have time for a larger project, then why not sew 4 emus and combine them in the following arrangement- It would make a great 36 inch x 36 inch lap quilt.


I am really grateful to the talented quilters who tested this pattern for me. Each and every one of them gave me valuable feedback on this pattern.

Pattern testers always give me a first glance as to how people will interpret each new pattern. I love every version that they sewed:

Suzanne was determined to depart from my colour choices. I love the dramatic dark background that she gave her block.


Paul took a subtle choice with his yellow emu:


Lynn had fun with batiks:



Raewyn sewed this beautiful version in greys and teals.



I really look forward to seeing all the emus that you create!

The pdf pattern can be bought from the following stores: my Etsy Store, my Payhip Store and My Craftsy Store.
People in the EU MUST buy their pattern through Etsy or Payhip, NOT Craftsy. 

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Announcing the On The Wire Pattern Club


While on Summer holiday in a beautiful part of New Zealand called Glenorchy this Summer, I couldn't help but fall in love with cute little birds called riflemen. They are a species of New Zealand Wrens and these tiny birds can often be seen in forests flitting around in groups of three or four.

I didn't take my computer on holiday with me, but when I got home, I sat down and quickly sketched a pattern. After having worked on secret projects for most of last year, it felt like a luxury to have a project that I could share without limitations, so I shared images of all my trial blocks on instagram. I wanted to show people that I really work at perfecting my patterns. There is thought and care put into the construction. I don't just draw the pattern and immediately send it to testers without sewing the pattern myself.

I sewed this particular pattern six times before I sent it off to be testers. Now I must admit that I don't usually sew a pattern quite this number of times, but it is a quick and easy pattern to sew and lots of different variations on pattern kept on popping into my head so I couldn't resist trying them all out.

My initial pattern was 6 inch, but while I was perfecting the construction of the block, I also tried it as a 12 inch pattern. I took a poll on instagram asking what size of block people wanted. The results were pretty inconclusive, so I decided to include both in the pattern.

While I was playing with the pattern, a few Brits commented that the pattern looked like a wren, but that its tail needed to point upwards. I also received a few polite requests from Australians who were keen for me to design a Fairy Wren pattern. Now I must admit that I tend to design what I want rather than what others request (this way, I can work on projects that I am passionate about and I am more likely to give my best work), but these weren't commissions and I loved the idea of a series of wrens all sitting next to each other.

So I hatched a plan.

A series of wren blocks was the result. There is the possibility for each of the wrens to sit on a wire, so you can create a quilt with a row of birds sitting on a telegraph wire.



Today I am launching the first of those wren patterns. I've put a lot into the pattern and I'm extremely proud of the result. The pattern contains the templates for:
  • A 6 inch left facing wren sitting on a rock
  • A 6 inch right facing wren sitting on a rock
  • A 6 inch left facing wren sitting on a wire
  • A 6 inch right facing wren sitting on a wire
  • A 12 inch left facing wren sitting on a rock
  • A 12 inch right facing wren sitting on a rock
  • A 12 inch left facing wren sitting on a wire
  • A 12 inch right facing wren sitting on a wire
Not only this, but the pattern is jam packed with diagrams, colouring sheets, a key to help you keep track of your fabrics and fabric requirements. In fact, this simple block pattern consists of 25 pages.
Those who are confident piecing tiny pieces can sew one of the 6 inch versions of the pattern. Those who are not so confident can start with the 12 inch version and move onto the 6 inch version as their skills develop.

There are two ways that you can buy. the pattern:

1. Buy the individual pattern. From my Etsy, Payhip or Craftsy store.

2. Sign up for the On the Wire Pattern Club. By signing up you will be emailed one wren pattern per month for five months. The first four patterns will be released as individual patterns and will contain a comparable amount of detail.  In the fifth month a bonus pattern will be sent to club subscribers. This final pattern will not be released as an individual pattern, the only way to receive it will be through the Pattern Club. You can sign up for the Pattern Club on Etsy, Payhip or Craftsy.


Knowing me, I have probably overlooked mentioning an important detail, so if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. I will reply to your queries directly in this blog post.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Giveaway Winner

Just a very quick post today to announce that the winner of the book and Tula Pink Patch giveaway is Paula (bubbabean22 on instagram). As the winning post was one in which she tagged a friend, @fattycornersquilts   will also receive a small prize in the post from me.

Both winners have been contacted and were thrilled.

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway, it was lots of fun.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Animal Quilts Book Blog Hop- Day 1


When my son (my youngest child) started school in February 2016, it dawned upon me that I was reaching a crossroads. Unless I became more disciplined about quilting as a career, my days of staying at home and playing in my sewing room were numbered. I was approaching the moment where I would have to return to a proper grown up day job if I didn't take quilting more seriously.

So I decided to start collecting ideas for a book. Animal Quilts is the result. I took my time and made sure that I loved each and every idea that I put forward. Many designs were created, many were rejected.

I made a few key decisions right from the start.
  1. I wanted my designs to feature centre stage. Even though it might be impractical for printing purposes, I wanted to create a book of quilts, not a book of quilt blocks with instructions on how to turn these into cute pouches and cushions.
  2. I wanted the patterns to be BIG. I didn't want the quilts to consist of multiple repeats of the same block. I have a low attention span for sewing the same block over and over. I don't  mind doing it to perfect my design, but once the design is finished I like to move onto the next project.
  3.  The construction of the blocks was important to me. I spent a lot of time drawing, redrawing, and testing to make sure that everything would sew together as well as possible. I always feel that the better that I design a pattern, the more successfully you guys will be able to sew it. To me, designing paper pieced patterns is not just about drawing a series of lines, it's about drawing a series of lines that are easy to sew. What is the point of designing a stunning pattern if nobody can sew it together properly?
  4. I wanted the chance to share paper piecing tips in my book. There are many many tricks that I have learnt along the way and although I have shared many of these on my blog, I wanted to be able to share my latest thoughts in one place.
  5. I wanted to empower those who are scared of paper piecing. While the patterns in this book are not designed with beginners in mind, I strongly believe that once you master a few basics and discover a style of paper piecing that suits your personality, these patterns can be attempted by anyone. If you're an adventurous beginner, jump in with both feet and give yourself permission to make mistakes. If you are more cautious, start on simpler blocks, master the basics and then move onto the patterns in this book.
  6. While I really wanted to create a book of quilts, I wanted to offer people options for what they can do with the patterns. Most patterns in the book come complete with a number of suggestions as to different ways that you can use the pattern.

I will admit that it was tough keeping all the designs secret. I tend to be pretty impetuous in what I share on social media so I had to take a deep breathe each time that I felt like sharing and email friends instead.

In the very early days, my exact plan for the book changed a few times.  Initially it was going to be a book of black and white animals against colourful fractured backgrounds. The Panda and the Polar Bear designs date back to this initial version of the book. I quickly found this concept too limited and boring. I moved on.

My next plan was to work with animals from a specific area of the world, but again this was too limiting.

Finally I decided to just choose birds and animals that I liked. Some are requests from my children, others are animals that I've been wanting to design for a while. Some were challenging to design, others came together quickly. I guess that you could say that it's a bit of an eclectic mix, but I like it that way!
Over the next two weeks, a collection of my talented quilting friends will show you the wonderful quilts that they have made using patterns from my book. I've seen a few sneak peaks and I can tell you that  there are some really exciting projects to share. Make sure that you drop by their blogs to have a look. The schedule is as follows:

Monday 6th November – me
Tuesday 7th November – Annabel from Little Pincushion Studio 
Wednesday 8th November – Chris from Made by Chrissie D 
Thursday 9th November – Quilting Daily
Friday 10th November – Matthew from Mister Domestic 

Monday 13th November – Kate from Quilt with Kate 
Tuesday 14th November – Kristi from Schnitzel and Boo 
Wednesday 15th November – Angie from Gnome Angel 
Thursday 16th November – Paul aka Evildemondevildog 
Friday 17th November – Sarah from Sariditty

*** Please be aware that we are all scattered around the globe, so the exact time and date for posting may vary according to the time zone that each individual lives in.**

Giveaway!

To round off this post, I thought it would be fun to have a giveaway. The winner of the giveaway will receive a signed copy of my book, a limited edition Tula Pink Frog Patch, a 12 inch add-a-quarter plus ruler and a mini charm pack of Violet Craft Palm Canyon fabric.

There are lots of opportunities to win. You can enter as many times as you wish. After the giveaway closes, I will collate all the names and pick a random winner.

I will close entries on 16th November at 10pm New Zealand Time (remember we are ahead of the rest of the world!).

The giveaway is open worldwide.

Do as many or as few of the following as you wish:
  1. leave a comment on this blog post telling me the first pattern that you want to sew from the book.
  2. Follow me on instagram and leave a comment on the prize picture post
  3. Follow me on instagram and tag a friend (or friends)who you think will be interested in the giveaway. (If the winning post is one tagging a friend, I will send them a copy of my new Pride and Joy paper pattern and an add a quarter ruler)
  4. Follow me on facebook and leave a comment on the giveaway prize post.
  5. Share the giveaway post on facebook publicly (I can only award prizes to entries that I can see).
I will do everything that I can to contact the winner, but if I have not heard from them within a week, I will draw a new winner.

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